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Côte d’Ivoire22 October 2002

French radio journalist held by intelligence police in Abidjan

Reporters Without Borders called today for the immediate release of a French freelance radio producer who has been held at state intelligence headquarters in Abidjan since 17 October.

"The journalist, Gaël Mocaer, who works for Radio France Outre-mer (RFO), was simply doing his job and nothing justifies his lengthy detention," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Ivorian communications minister Séry Bailly. "The Ivorian authorities, who say they have no prisoners of conscience in their country, must ensure his safety at all costs."

Mocaer was arrested at his hotel on 17 October by intelligence officials and visits to him in detention have not been allowed. Officials reportedly removed his personal belongings from the hotel. He has not been charged with any offence and no reason has been given for his arrest.

He was in Côte d’Ivoire to make a documentary about the current situation there for RFO and a company called Beta Productions. He has a visa valid until 27 October.

Since the attempted coup d’état of 19 September, foreign journalists and cameramen in the country have been threatened or physically attacked and their cameras seized.

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